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Workshop Aimed to Improve Animal Disease Control

by 5m Editor
5 May 2011, at 11:45am

US - Scientists worked with industry leaders to define uses and policy for agricultural screening tools for disease control during a recent workshop.

Industry leaders from US animal agriculture collaborated with top scientists specializing in contagious animal diseases to identify the next generation of improved screening tools for livestock, milk and other products during a two-day FAZD Center workshop in Washington. FAZD is the National Center for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Defense.

The April workshop was the second of two on agricultural screening tools. The first workshop, held in 2010, identified and prioritised gaps in the US arsenal of agricultural screening tools. The latest meeting was the next step towards identifying methods by which screening tools may be utilised. The meeting also generated a healthy discussion on policies required for use of these tools.

Donald King, research leader at the Pirbright Institute for Animal Health in the United Kingdom, presented the UK perspective on foot-and-mouth disease and related issues.

Industry leaders attending the workshop represented the US cattle, dairy, swine, sheep, goat and poultry sectors. The scientists represented the US Department of Homeland Security and the US Department of Agriculture, as well as major research universities and veterinary diagnostic laboratories.

Leaders from the agricultural sectors provided an overview of business practices and discussed the potential for integrating current and new detection technologies into their daily routines. Industry leaders and scientists then worked together to discuss potential utilisation of such tools along with the need for development and refinement of policies surrounding their use. Finally, the participants prioritized needs, established requirements, and determined the next steps for development and deployment of screening tools that will support industry business continuity plans.

The two-day workshop attracted industry leaders and top scientists from across the nation.

Dr Tammy Beckham, director of the FAZD Center, said: "We wanted to gain the industry's perspective to help select the technologies that will be most useful to the animal agriculture sector. We are working with our industry partners to develop screening tools that can be rapidly put into use during a high consequence disease event – and then to transition the tools to the end-user. Ideally, these tools will easily fit into normal business operations and allow for business continuity during a significant disease outbreak."

The FAZD Center plans to publish the results from the most recent workshop in a report later this year.

The report from the 2010 workshop, 'Defining the Needs and Requirements for Agricultural Screening Tools', is available online [click here].